NCAA Silver Lining for Cal

NCAA Silver Lining for Cal

March 15, 2010CAL PAGE
SIGN UP FOR BRACKETBALL 2010!If youre among the Cal die-hards who think the Golden Bears actually have a shot at winning the NCAA mens basketball title, feel free to stop reading now and move on with your day.If youre a college hoops fan who seeks entertainment and entertainment alone from March Madness, or a Berkeley fan who cares about future recruits, proceed. Cals draw simply couldnt be better under the circumstances.The most significant circumstance, of course, is the loss to Washington in the Pac-10 tourney final. That changed everything. It did nothing short of dramatically altering the Golden Bears national identity.Beat the Huskies and youre the undisputed king of one of the countrys traditional power conferences. Granted, the Pac-10 was a conference in decline this season, but any team that wins the regular-season and tournament title curries favor with the selection committee.Win that game against Washington, and all of a sudden Mike Montgomery is twice the coach -- in the eyes of CBS -- as he is today. Jerome Randle and Jamal Boykin are better players. Cals campus is a little bit prettier.The loss, though, somehow made the Golden Bears tourney run more appealing to the casual Bay Area basketball fan. In beating the Huskies, Cal might have earned the No. 5 seed in the South and a first-round game against Siena. You know, the Metro Atlantic champs. Alex Franklin? Edwin Ubiles?Bueller .. Bueller? Anyone?Exactly. Instead, with the loss, the Golden Bears get Louisville in the South Regional first round. And with a win over the Cardinals, Cal likely gets a date with top-seeded Duke.How is that good?
Well, again, were talking about the casual fan here. And every casual college hoops fan knows that the college game has long been defined by -- increasingly so, since the one-and-done era was ushered in by the myopic NBA -- its coaches.Rick Pitino is a huge name. He coaches Louisville.Mike Krzyzewski is a huge name. He coaches Duke.Instant interest. And with a couple of wins, instant cachet for Cal.It probably wont happen, as noted above. Louisville can flat ball -- employing Pitinos signature pressure defense -- and Randle is going to be swarmed from the opening tip Thursday night in Jacksonville, Fla.Getting past Duke, which has an All-America forward in Kyle Singler, a 7-footer inside and Krzyzewski, will be even more difficult.But you cant tell me youre not more interested in Cal vs. Louisville than Cal vs.Siena.The nations prep stars surely will be, and thats where the Golden Bears really come out ahead. --Mychael Urban
What's on your mind? Email Mychael and let him know. He may use it in his weekly Mailbag.

Warriors, Cavs to square off in ultimate NBA Finals trilogy

Warriors, Cavs to square off in ultimate NBA Finals trilogy

The Trilogy has arrived.

The Warriors. The Cavaliers. Facing each other in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive postseason. The series begins June 1 with Game 1 at Oracle Arena.

With a 135-102 victory over the Celtics Thursday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Cavs advance to face a Warriors team riding the wave created by being the first club in NBA history to start the postseason with 12 straight wins.

With the teams splitting the first two Finals, the Warriors winning in 2015 and the Cavs prevailing last June, this one is to break the tie.

In the meantime, both teams have done some significant retooling.

The Warriors last summer added four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant, along with veterans JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia and David West.

Though LeBron James remains the hub of the Cavs, the team made several in-season changes, most notably adding veterans Kyle Korver and Deron Williams.

The Warriors came into the playoffs having earned the No. 1 overall seed by virtue of their NBA-best 67-15 record. They’re 27-1 since March 11, having ended the regular season by winning 15 of their last 16 games before taking out Portland, Utah and San Antonio in four games each to reach The Finals.

The Cavaliers (51-31) held the top seed in the East for most of the season before staggering over the final six weeks, going 9-12 over their final 21 games, including four consecutive losses to end the season.

Cleveland seems to have recovered from its late-season slump, sweeping Indiana and Toronto in the first two rounds before ousting the Celtics in five.

The Warriors and Cavs split two games in the regular season, each team winning on its home floor. Cleveland took a 109-108 decision on Christmas Day, while the Warriors came back for a 126-91 on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Oakland.

The NBA Finals schedule can be seen below. 

Game 1 – Thu  June  1  Cleveland at Golden State          6:00PM  

Game 2 – Sun  June  4  Cleveland at Golden State          5:00PM  

Game 3 – Wed  June  7  Golden State at Cleveland          6:00PM  

Game 4 – Fri  June  9  Golden State at Cleveland             6:00PM  

Game 5 * Mon  June 12  Cleveland at Golden State          6:00PM  

Game 6 * Thu  June 15  Golden State at Cleveland          6:00PM  

Game 7 * Sun  June 18  Cleveland at Golden State          5:00PM    

Dusty chooses son's graduation over Nationals game against Padres

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USATSI

Dusty chooses son's graduation over Nationals game against Padres

WASHINGTON — Dusty Baker will miss the Washington Nationals weekend series against the San Diego Padres to attend his son Darren’s graduation.

Baker said he will rejoin Washington when it begins a three-game series in San Francisco on Monday, near Baker’s offseason home. Bench coach Chris Speier will assume managerial duties against the Padres.

Baker’s son Darren is graduating from Jesuit High School in Carmichael, California. He’s committed to play college baseball at Cal.

As a 3-year-old bat boy, Darren was rescued from a potential home plate collision by J.T. Snow in Game 5 of the 2002 World Series between Baker’s Giants and the Angels.